The Care Home ‘Ask and Talk’ (CHAaT) volunteer service in Wales is using retired nurses and healthcare professionals to find out how care home residents’ lives can be improved. Tanya Strange, who works for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, set up the service to ensure Gwent care homes were safe for residents after watching the Panorama expose of neglect and abuse of residents of Winterbourne View in Bristol. The project also shares and celebrates the great practice that is happening in the vast majority of care homes.
All nursing home staff have been trained in advanced care planning, with more older people being actively involved in day-to-day and end-of-life decisions. Patient experience now forms part of nurses continuing professional development and competencies are assessed.
Volunteers, mainly nurses, are drawn from the local NHS Retirement Fellowship. They support 3,500 residents in 101 nursing and residential homes through face-to-face meetings where they can talk in private about their nursing home. Where patients are unable to communicate, relatives are given the opportunity for a confidential discussion.
Heather Jones’s mum became a resident of her care home three years ago. ‘CHAaT is a brilliant service and should be in all care homes – throughout the country and the rest of the UK. It has so many benefits for all of the residents and definitely improves their quality of life. Older people may not want to mention an issue to someone who works at the care home because they are worried the standard of care will drop. The generation has a different set of values and doesn’t want to make an issue. CHAaT volunteers are independent. The residents know that it is in confidence but also that if the volunteer thinks it is an issue they will speak to the manager. I know my mum has someone to talk to and feels safe’.
More information can be found here http://bit.ly/1ReDxMG